Facebook is changing stuff all the time, and cover photo changes is the latest example of how small business owners can take advantage of these adjustments in order to attract and engage current and potential customers.
It used to be that, along with specific sizing instructions for Facebook cover photos, there could be no text in the cover photos on a Facebook Business Page. Now, however, the cover photos can now include text and – more importantly – calls to action.
The 20% Rule
There are some limitations in order to comply with the new Facebook Guidelines for cover pages. The cover photo cannot be more than 20% text and is generally measured in a grid format. For example, there is a grid of 25 blocks that fits over the cover photo. If text covers more than 5 of those blocks, than the ratio of text to image is more than 20% and the cover photo is out of compliance.
I used our latest cover page as an example of the 20% rule using a measurement tool by Paavo:
It’s clear from this example that the text takes up less than 20% of the entire page since only 4 blocks of the grid are marked out above. To improve the Local Fresh Marketing business page, we might decide to make the Local Fresh logo larger to cover more of the space and add a call to action – such as “Like Our Page” – right below it with an arrow.
Creating a Cover Photo for a Facebook Business Page
There are some important considerations when evaluating your current cover photo and deciding to move ahead with a new one.
1. Cohesive Design
It’s essential to remember that the Profile Picture and the Cover Photo work together on your Facebook Business Page. Take a look at this nonprofit organization’s page below:
Net Impact does a good job of using the Profile Picture as space for their logo and the Cover Photo as a place to let visitors know about their work in a compelling tagline. As you design this space for your small business, keep in mind that these two sections are separate and make the most of each space.
2. Compelling Photos
It is necessary to have beautiful images online, especially when competing with other small businesses in your niche. However, not all of us are designers (I’m certainly not, as evidenced by past experiments). In order to get around this tiny yet essential detail, consider using a service such as Pagemodo. The basic plan is free and allows users to create attractive Cover Photos from templates that include colorful backgrounds and fun photo layouts.
Since this is a new discovery, we haven’t experimented with any clients’ Facebook business pages yet, but I used one for my personal use, playing around with different photos and text options. They make it really easy to format backgrounds, add and adjust photos, and craft text as needed in a template format:
Since I focus on writing humor, this format worked really well for me personally. Plus, it was free since I had only one page, but rates are reasonable and the program is easy to use.
If you don’t want to mess around with formatting a cover photo right now or, conversely, if you want a little more design freedom, consider a program like Timeline Cover Banner. The cover photos are already configured and can be adjusted in a variety of ways, either by simply adding text or by making adjustments to the background image and the colors.
3. Call to Action
As a small business owner, you need people to convert from being part of your audience to purchasing the goods and services that you offer. Facebook now allows a Call to Action and a phone number as desired on business pages (within the 20% rule, of course). This page from Inbound Zombie is a great illustration of focusing attention on just a call to action, making the most of a simple approach to cohesive design.
Regardless of style, these broader guidelines for Facebook Business Pages is a welcome addition to reaching current and potential customers for small business owners of all kinds.